TUANZ Media Release : TUANZ Welcomes Kiwis home but not the return of roaming charges


Wednesday 2nd March 2022


With the news that Kiwi’s can now return home to Aotearoa from Australia with no home isolation from Wednesday evening, and the ability of Kiwi’s to travel to Australia, people can now look forward to once again flying across the Tasman to see family, friends and do business.


However, there is a cost to this that many will have forgotten over the last two years – that of International Mobile Roaming Charges even when visiting our closest neighbours. TUANZ is calling on the operators on both sides of the Tasman to do away with this unnecessary charge as travellers start to arrive in their respective countries. This would be in the spirit of the announcements as far back as 2013 by the Prime Minister’s of both countries to empower regulators to ensure roaming prices were regulated.


“Operators over the last two years have learnt to live without this revenue from everyday travellers and so any re-start of roaming will simply be unnecessary. Why not take the opportunity now to agree to not reinstate the charges between our two countries, further reducing the cost of travel across the ditch,” says Craig Young, CEO of TUANZ.


Young went on to say “while we recognise that roaming charges beyond ‘Australasia’ would be more problematic to remove, this change between two neighbours should be simple to fix. It would provide a boost to helping Kiwi’s reconnect, and support businesses, including tourism and hospitality.”


Young estimates that Kiwis have saved a collective $180million over the last two years. Telcos in New Zealand receive an estimated $114million from these charges for Kiwi’s and incoming tourists in a regular year. (These numbers are based on the Commerce Commission survey of retail telcos for the 2019 financial year and related to all overseas roaming, not just Australia).


“We have learnt the importance of remaining connected through the COVID-19 pandemic, and taking the opportunity to reduce roaming charges to zero across the Tasman would be a big step to helping us all remain in touch, even now that we can travel.”

A few tips for consumers when travelling:


  • Check the details of your current mobile plan and remind yourself of what charges apply when travelling

  • Utilise over the top messaging services rather than text messaging

  • Set up your voicemail asking for messages rather than phone calls

  • When out of the country, utilise secure wifi networks such as friends, families and workplaces to connect rather than overseas mobile networks

  • If travelling for some time, consider using a local prepaid service rather than roaming


10th November 2021: Submission on the Towards a Digital Strategy for Aotearoa – Discussion Document

On the 10th November 2021 we provided our feedback on the Government’s discussion document on “Towards a Digital Strategy for Aotearoa”.

The basis of our submission was the Digital Priorities for Aotearoa Report and the communique issued as part of the recent Techusers Day held in August 2021.   Our main point was that to lift our nation to the level of leading globally, the Digital Strategy for Aotearoa needs to be ambitious, challenging and a stretch. It needs to have audacious goals which are targeted and a call to action.  And while we think the vision and goals in the discussion document “Towards a Digital Strategy for Aotearoa” is a good start, it does not embody the ambition this strategy needs to realise the benefits for Aotearoa New Zealand.

We also made the point that the whole of business (economy) must be involved in developing and delivering on a holistic digital strategy. The discussion document alludes to this, however, there is no specific action to support the wider business environment or obligation placed on the wider economy. These businesses are not SMEs but are large users of digital services and we would like to see recognition of the importance of the wider business community – both in terms of how Government will support their digital transformation, but also how larger businesses will play their part in securing our digital future.

You can read our brief submission here.


17th April 2020

TUANZ (Technology Users Association of NZ) has for over 30 years been committed to helping users understand new communications technologies and the benefits that these bring for both companies and consumers.

To ensure that members as well as the general public have an independent source of easy to understand information, TUANZ has launched a new resource about the next evolution of mobile communications, known as 5G, on their website.  Here users can find simple explanations of the technology along with links to further detailed information, as well as being able to download a simple fact sheet.  

“We also know that there is a significant amount of misinformation on social media on what 5G is and the unverified health risks associated with this new technology” said Craig Young, CEO of TUANZ.  “ Our new site provides brief and simple explanations of why this risk is overstated and provides links to credible scientific information that debunks any theories.”

Young also has a message to those who consider that the current actions of damaging mobile towers is an acceptable form of protest. “There is absolutely no scientific evidence that 5G, or any mobile network, has in any way contributed to the current Covid-19 pandemic.  In fact, damaging equipment at this time only serves to disrupt those communities, families and whanau who are in isolation in need of being connected for their health and wellbeing, and in particular disrupts and causes harm for children who are now in the new school term, learning from home.”

The information can be found on the TUANZ website from a link on the homepage or at https://tuanz.org.nz/articles-research/5g/. The association is committed to updating the site with new information as it becomes available.


Fibre Readiness Survey – Speed is the Killer App

In 2010 a survey on business use of Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) was conducted.  Earlier this year (2015) it was decided to survey the TUANZ membership once again and to invite the Greater East Tamaki Business Association (GETBA) to participate given the length of time UFB had been available in that area.  The survey was conducted online during the month of June 2015.

Over November, each week we will publish a post that covers off a key finding from the survey finishing up with our thoughts on the opportunities that we see arising from the survey results. We have also published the data to the Figure.NZ site and you can see the results herenote that at present that although the graph titles state that it is “TUANZ members”, the results include the GETBA results as well.   If you want to know more of the background and the response rate you can read that on our website here.


This week we look at the respondent’s view that SPEED is one of the key drivers to take a fibre service.  In the survey we asked a series of questions that attempted to understand the key drivers for taking a fibre service  In some ways it was unsurprising that the key underlying reason was the reliable speed of connectivity.

However when asked what speed broadband they would like to buy in future (n= 142), none of the respondents who already have fibre or UFB (n 70) = selected VDSL or 30 Mbps/10Mbps plans and 42% of that group would purchase plans of 1Gbps or more. Of those without fibre (n = 72), it was interesting to note a general preference for lower speed plans, with the exception of the 1 Gbps plan (selected by 13%), which has been heavily marketed through Gigatown and other campaigns.

Of those respondents who had taken up UFB or fibre at their head office or single site, the majority (45%) were on plans of 100 Mbps symmetric or less. Almost 30% were on 1Gbps symmetric plans or more (including those on dark fibre). This appears relative to the greater sample of SME respondents than corporate.  Of the more than 42% (n=92) on copper broadband, around 23% reported they were on a VDSL connection. The same number didn’t know what speed their fibre connection was.

There are indications that opportunities lie in improving broadband speeds at branch offices. Nearly 45% of respondents (n= 83) had branch offices and although this sample diminished further when asked about the type of broadband connection they had (n=65), just under half were still on copper.

The trend to uncapped plans was confirmed with around a third of respondents no longer tied to a fixed amount of data.


Other Drivers of uptake:


Price (n=85) again proved to be a challenging question to survey, especially as many broadband plans are still bundled with telephony. Accordingly caution should be exercised when considering these results. When asked what monthly fee they were paying for broadband now, 77% of respondents said they were paying under $200 per month. The median price paid was $109. Unsurprisingly, SMEs and non-fibre users were the predominant type of businesses to answer this question. When compared with the 2010 survey results, it would appear businesses continue to be price sensitive. The similarity of the monthly UFB access fees to those for ADSL (copper) services was considered of greatest importance (74%) in encouraging UFB uptake by non-fibre respondents.

Other – The UFB benefits which were ranked second and third most important after access fees in encouraging uptake by non-fibre businesses were improved productivity (76%) and remote working (65%) respectively. All respondents considered cloud, remote working and voice-over-IP to be the three ICT services they would most consider investing in to leverage the benefits of UFB. These were similar to the responses given in 2010. The benefits respondents were least aware of in 2015 were reduced power costs and supply chain improvements.

Internet NZ – Canterbury Community Grants

At NetHui South last weekend our friends at InternetNZ announced a round of community grants for Canterbury – if you are in the region the details of how to apply are below.

Why we love community grants round: Canterbury edition

As part of our mission to work alongside the Internet community of New Zealand, we help fund projects that go towards making New Zealand’s Internet better.

Every year we invest $500,000 in community projects, research projects and conference attendance as well as our strategic partners. We do this because we are the stewards of the .nz domain for New Zealand. Part of this responsibility means we are in the position to provide funding to the community to benefit the 

New Zealand Internet.

While at NetHui South – taking part in Christchurch for the first time – we launched a funding round for projects based in the Canterbury region. We’re giving away $100,000 to support Internet projects that will benefit the people and the Internet of Canterbury. The money is the last part of the half million dollars that InternetNZ has contributed to the region following the major earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

The Canterbury funding round is to help fund projects that will extend the availability, use and benefit of the Internet in and around Canterbury. Two such areas would be projects that support more widely available access to the Internet, and projects which deliver better use of the Internet.

We think that community funding is one of the best parts of being at InternetNZ. It lets us help others work towards our vision of a better world through a better Internet. And everyone wants to help create a better world.

When we get to work alongside some of the best and brightest in New Zealand’s Internet community it gives us a thrill. Combined with the fact that Canterbury is an important region where people are thinking hard about how to build the sort of city and region, and the sorts of businesses and other organisations, that suit the 21st century and you have a perfect storm of helpfulness and a happy little satisfaction at doing a good thing.

We are aware that there is still much to be done in the rebuild, but the major focus of this round is towards projects that look beyond the rebuild and help answer this simple question: ‘what will the Internet’s contribution be to Canterbury’s for the next 15 years?’

By contributing this money to the work of others we’re helping them to grow Internet capability in Canterbury. We’ve previously provided money to groups who have set out to map the Internet in New Zealand and provide free wireless to some of New Zealand’s poorer communities.

The Internet is such a dominant part of our society now that any work we can do to help grow Canterbury’s capabilities will definitely contribute to the region’s economic and social progress. This has obvious flow-on effects to the rest of the country. Christchurch is New Zealand’s second largest city. For a successful and prosperous New Zealand it’s important that we do all we can to help Christchurch thrive.

The first stage of getting access to these funds is filling out an Expressions of Interest form.

These close on 5 January 2015, and details and application forms are at https://internetnz.net.nz/content/Canterbury-Funding-Round.

Get cracking! Let us help you make a difference.  

NetHui South – Registrations Open

Afternoon – We are a Community Supporter of NetHui South and so if you are in the South Island you can now register for the event.

Internet NZ Press Release:

The South Island edition of New Zealand’s favourite Internet event is open for registrations now.

NetHui South 2014 will be held at the University of Canterbury on November 21-22 and as with previous NetHuis, it’s expected that tickets will sell out fast.

The national event, held in July, brought together New Zealand’s Internet community to plan and execute the three day event. There were prominent New Zealand speakers, community-led sessions on all kinds of Internet Issues, political discussions and a range of side events.

The South Island edition is promising to be just as exciting.

InternetNZ Chief Executive, Jordan Carter says that the South Island Internet Community was providing just as excellent ideas that came pouring in for the Auckland version for the South Island edition.

“People have obviously got a keen eye for the future of the Internet. We’ve had a lot of interest in sessions around how New Zealand and Canterbury can best use the Ultra-fast Broadband roll-out, as well as how to improve the Rural Broadband Initiative.

“Though the event won’t be focussing solely on Canterbury, obviously that’s a major factor and we’ve got an exciting panel lined up to discuss Innovation and Opportunity in a Connected Canterbury.

NetHui is supported by a number of sponsors and community sponsors, ranging from local providers Enable to Creative Commons Aotearoa and more. The event couldn’t go ahead without them and Jordan says that it’s working alongside people that makes NetHui great.

“We work with New Zealand’s Internet community to arrive at a pre-agreed agenda for NetHui South, and from there we actively encourage people to participate, rather than passively attend,” says Mr Carter.

Registration can be done by visiting http://2014-south.nethui.org.nz/2014/10/registrations while a draft programme can be seen at http://2014-south.nethui.org.nz/nethui-programme.


For more information, please contact:

David Cormack, Communications Lead
+64 21 294 5333


Pass through of copper pricing

Last week I visited Tom Puller-Strecker at the DominionPost/STUFF offices to introduce myself as the new CEO of TUANZ.  In that meeting he asked a few interesting questions – and one of them was about our position regarding the pass-through by Service Providers of the copper price reduction coming into effect on the 1st December.  You can read my response and the article here: Telcos pour cold water on price cut call

NZ now has a league of broadband heroes – NZWIP

The real heroes of rural broadband have taken a break from bringing the best broadband to rural NZ for long enough to form an organisation and get the ability to speak with a single voice and engage with the ‘Wellington’ labyrinth, the mysterious beltway triangle linking MBIE, the Commerce Commission and Parliament.

I was at their inaugural meeting and I wish them luck and success, here’s the official release:

More than 20 representatives from independent New Zealand wireless broadband providers have met in Wellington and resolved to form an industry group to jointly address issues facing their industry and speak to central government with one voice.

The meeting in Wellington was initially set up to hear presentations from RSM, InternetNZ and TUANZ, and work towards a combined submission to the current review of the Radiocommunications Act, but it soon became obvious that most providers faced similar issues and there was much common ground.

“By mid-morning on the second day, members were able to agree on the aims and principles of the new organisation and elect officers to represent the group,” says newly-elected President Justin Wells of Nelson-based Thepacific.net.

The group will be known as the New Zealand Wireless Internet Providers Association (NZWIP). Full membership will be available to wireless broadband providers with a minimum of 200 end-point wireless customers, and other organisations such as equipment suppliers and sole operators will be able to apply for associate membership.

The group will share resources and also provide statistics on an anonymous basis so that the overall size of this part of the telecommunications industry can be established.

“We expect we will find that this group serves in excess of 80,000 customers throughout New Zealand,” says Mr Wells. “Almost all of us are privately funded companies set up by entrepreneurs who have become expert in bringing decent broadband speeds to remote rural areas where the traditional providers were unable or unwilling to go. Ask any farmer or rural town-dweller who is their broadband provider and you’ll most likely find that it’s a relatively small, local company. Our advantage is that we know our territory, we understand the local geography and we know our customers. It’s a business model that works, even if it’s one that has suffered from missing out on government funded rural broadband initiatives which have made money available only to companies who could provide national coverage. That’s an issue that has been really frustrating for us all, as we’ve had to deal with taxpayer-funded competition.”

Mr Wells said the group was encouraged to see Minister Amy Adams’ pre-election announcement that National would make $100 million of contestable funding available which independent wireless providers would be able to access.

“This is a huge step forward and an acknowledgement that our members have been out there closing the digital divide for over a decade – taking kiwi ingenuity, combining it with technical know-how and making things happen in rural New Zealand.”

I know these guys can make a difference because 10 years ago I got my rural broadband issues in Marlborough solved by the pacific.net, in fact that’s what started the whole process that leads me to being here today.

Their timing is right and they will delivered the best bang for the buck possible.

The Herod Clause – What would you give up for free WiFi?

A recent experiment in London showed that some people were prepared to give up their first born children in return for free wifi!, the story is here.

The reality is how many of us actually read the terms and conditions before we click agree on our way to some free surfing?

Here’s the story:

A handful of Londoners in some of the capital’s busiest districts unwittingly agreed to give up their eldest child, during an experiment exploring the dangers of public Wi-Fi use.

The experiment, which was backed by European law enforcement agency Europol, involved a group of security researchers setting up a Wi-Fi hotspot in June.

When people connected to the hotspot, the terms and conditions they were asked to sign up to included a “Herod clause” promising free Wi-Fi but only if “the recipient agreed to assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity”. Six people signed up.

F-Secure, the security firm that sponsored the experiment, has confirmed that it won’t be enforcing the clause.

“We have yet to enforce our rights under the terms and conditions but, as this is an experiment, we will be returning the children to their parents,” wrote the Finnish company in its report.

“Our legal advisor Mark Deem points out that – while terms and conditions are legally binding – it is contrary to public policy to sell children in return for free services, so the clause would not be enforceable in a court of law.”

Ultimately, the research, organised by the Cyber Security Research Institute, sought to highlight public unawareness of serious security issues concomitant with Wi-Fi usage.

The experiment used a mobile hotspot device built for less than £160 by German ethical-hacking company SySS using a Raspberry Pi computer, a battery pack and Wi-Fi aerial, all held together with elastic bands.

I’m pleased they won’t be enforcing the clause, but the scary bit comes later in the article:

The experiment used a mobile hotspot device built for less than £160 by German ethical-hacking company SySS using a Raspberry Pi computer, a battery pack and Wi-Fi aerial, all held together with elastic bands.

The device “could have been easily concealed in a woman’s handbag and could be deployed in seconds,” claimed the report. It was first deployed in Cafe Brera in Canada Square, in the heart of Canary Wharf, and later just outside the Queen Elizabeth Centre near the Houses of Parliament.

After the initial Herod clause experiment, the research continued with the terms and conditions removed. In Westminster, 33 devices connected to the hotspot, with researchers startled to find that the popular POP3 email protocol revealed passwords in plain text when used over Wi-Fi.

This vulnerability dates back 13 years to 2001, showing how little effort has been put into fixing a potentially critical issue. If the researchers had been malicious, they could have easily siphoned off critical data like usernames and passwords and logged into people’s accounts.

“The authentication happens in plain text in some old protocols,” F-Secure’s Sean Sullivan told the Guardian. “You could probably snare a lot of people using email… you could do more to refine [an attack] to capture more people’s mail.”

Thats actually very scary, yet the allure of free wifi is really really strong. Here’s the useful information from the end of the article:

But more mundane data can also be useful for hackers. Even when they aren’t connected to a hotspot, devices on average reveal the last 19 access points they hooked up to, the study found.

“It‘s a particularly disturbing development as recent research has shown that individuals can be accurately identified by using just the last four access points where they have logged on,” F-Secure’s report read.

Other metadata, such as websites people have visited or their device ID, would also prove useful to criminal or government spies hoping to piece together a fuller picture of targets.

The report concluded that there needs to be much more education around the use of public Wi-Fi, especially hotspots that are of unknown origin. F-Secure is also calling for more transparency from the telecoms industry.

Currently, users are suffering because of “collusion between different branches of the industry”, which has sacrificed security for the sake of usability, the researchers claimed.

“People haven’t had anything to compare it to to wrap their head around,” Sullivan added. “People are thinking of Wi-Fi as a place as opposed to an activity… You don’t do unprotected Wi-Fi at home, why are you doing it in public?”

Sullivan advises users run a Virtual Private Networking (VPN) software product, which will encrypt the data being sent to and from their device.

Turning Wi-Fi off when in public or when around untrusted hotspots can also be helpful wherever and whenever possible. Deleting old and known networks broadcasted by the device can help protect from metadata snoops too.

Good stuff to remember, it got me thinking about this story from a couple of years ago about the feasibility of digital pickpockets using a malicious android app to read NFC credit cards while they are still in your wallet! 

In a talk at the Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas Friday, Lee demonstrated an Android software tool called NFCProxy that’s capable of both reading and “replaying” data from contactless credit cards–any of the common payment cards with embedded RFID chips that allow payments at retail outlets’ wireless point-of-sale devices like these. undefined

After using a Nexus S phone to read his own contactless Visa card onstage at Defcon, he then used his tool to relay the data a moment later to a point-of-sale device, where it was accepted as a payment. “I’ve just skimmed, abused and spent someone’s credit card within a couple minutes. It’s really simple,” he told the crowd.

That is really scary and we now have our banks and telco’s rushing to get into payments before Apple Pay launches here.

But have they got the security sewn up tight?

2014 is shaping up to be the year of big security scares!



Dear Steven

Congratulations on reclaiming the ICT portfolio, I think I now know why you weren’t so keen on having a CTO for New Zealand. I know you have the skills, experience and battle scars to make this area really perform.

I think you now have the unique opportunity to pull it all together, across your portfolios you have all the ingredients required to make us an ICT powerhouse, you’ve got Research, Science and Technology (the areas that do the real R&D in this space & REANNZ – the real telco of the future today) that means access to the real latest thinking (not just what the vendors have to sell today)

With Tertiary Education you’ve got the means to turn that knowledge into skills and then those skills are needed in jobs for our kids (I’ve got two ‘minecraft’ trained budding robotics engineers who’ll be looking for jobs in the next 8-10 years). We need to both build ICT businesses and help all our business get more productive using ICT in smart, creative and effective ways.

Extending the UFB and getting to the nub of the real rural issues will help enormously, this time I’d love to see the true heroes of rural broadband included in the mix, the regional ISP’s are your secret weapon, they literally go the extra mile and are truly local. 

Just pulling together those threads will create great synergies and the team you’ll be able to assemble in your office and at your ministries can really make a difference.

And TUANZ is here to help, we don’t always agree but we are focused on the same objectives,  

Can’t wait until we get a chance to share our ideas with you too.